Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Now we know where we live! (Pictures 3 of 3)

Something that hasn't stopped amazing us--seeing cows pulling carts down the street, along with the cars, buses, and auto-rickshaws. Many times the cows will have jingle-bells tied to their horns, probably to help them make a little more noticable as they trot down the street. Usually the cows will be pulling carts full of fruit, or baskets, or sometimes wood. When Dad asked Mani if the cows ever got hit by cars, Mani just grinned. (?) I do know that Mani told us that Gandhi declared that certain animals are sacred and should never be harmed, including cows, dogs, and cats. We've seen many pretty skinny cows and dogs--so apparently they aren't to be harmed, but they aren't always taken care of very well, either. We also found out that the cows with these long horns are females, and the bulls have very short horns. Since we've seen nothing but cows with long horns walking around and pulling carts, they've all been female. I asked Mani why all the cows we see in the city are female, and he said, "They give milk."

This is what an Indian street-cleaning team looks like. Why clean the streets with a machine when you can hire 7 ladies wearing orange vests? The photos we haven't included here are the photos that we took immediately following this one. The ladies noticed us taking their picture, stopped sweeping, and swarmed over to us. We kept taking pictures, and they came right up to us, one of them coming to pose right in front of the camera.

The Burkes on camels, going down a major thoroughfare in Chennai. Front camel: Lily's in front with the blue shirt, Heidi's in the middle with Dawn in back clutching Heidi for dear life. Back camel: Erin in front, Byron in back.

Grandfafa with Erin and Lily. Notice the bus zooming by right near them.

The Hindu god procession we ran into. See the drum player in the front, and one man pulling, another pushing the decorated cart with a Hindu god figurine riding in the cart? They just walked down the middle of the street, with traffic streaming past them on both sides.

A closer look at the procession (Another, larger platform was coming down the street behind this one. The larger platform included a Hindu priest riding in front of the Hindu god figurine, and was much more elaborately decorated). I am getting pretty used to men wearing skirts, and Byron said he'd buy a skirt if I'd buy and wear a sari. (!)

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